F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
June 4, 2000
Big Labor's Building Big Government

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

The dues of union members are being used to undermine our political and economic freedoms.

"The billions of dollars collected through government-authorized compulsory unionism still provide the fuel that drives the liberal political machine," asserts Reed Larson of the National Right to Work Committee. "Without the disproportionate political muscle of union officials, gained through government-granted coercive power, all of our battles against the flood tide of tax-and-spend, big-government schemes could be won hands down," Larson contends. "Right-to-Work proponents are, however, making some progress," he reports, "both on Capitol Hill and in the court system, in cutting off the flow of forced-dues money with which union officials fund their attacks on our freedom."

In a recent issue of Imprimis, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College, Larson points out that "80 percent of Americans understand that it's just plain wrong to force someone to pay tribute to an unwanted union in order to get or keep a job. But," he adds, "few understand the far-reaching consequences of government-authorized forced unionism. It's an abusive system that affects the lives of every one of us."

Larson claims that union officials devote "all or most of their staff resources during election season to partisan get-out-the-vote drives, boiler-room phone banks, and other political activities. In other words," he says, "they assign salaried union staff members to campaign full time while they still draw a union paycheck funded almost entirely by compulsory union dues. Nearly all national unions maintain large national staffs and armies of field organizers, all trained extensively in nuts-and-bolts politicking."

Larson accuses union leaders of using their enormous financial resources to ensure "more tax-and-spend big government and more regulation of every facet of your life, paid for with your tax dollars." He charges that "union officials are profoundly hostile to the free-enterprise system. They have lobbied for, among other things, broad-based government price and wage fixing, the Clinton health-care scheme, and a panoply of tax increases for businesses and individuals. Gutting the successful wave of state and federal welfare reforms in the mid-1990s has been a top union objective as well," says Larson. He also points out that "union lobbyists are among the strongest backers of the array of business-harassing regulatory schemes that are smothering small businesses across America under mountains of federally imposed paperwork."

Larson cites union power as "the number-one reason that most state legislators are unable to implement significant education reforms. Reforms such as vouchers," he explains, "would diminish the number of union-dues-paying public school teachers." Larson also charges that "the union political machine is the number-one reason that Washington is likely for the foreseeable future to continue imposing heavy disincentives that hinder Americans from shoring up their private savings for retirement and health care, even though Social Security and Medicare are headed for disaster. Big Labor officials demand that the American taxpayers be forced to pay more and more money into these huge government bureaucracies," he laments. "As long as federally imposed compulsory unionism remains in place, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve any substantial change for the better on these issues and many others."

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